League of Legends (2009)
Developer: Riot Games
Platform: Personal Computer
Induction Date: 04/03/2010
Have you ever heard of Defense of the Ancients? I never did until I started playing one of its clone for the first time, a great game by the name of Demigod. And I thought that it was one of the most fun games ever until I started playing both Heroes of Newerth as well as League of Legends. The fact that LoL is being reviewed first - not to mentioned being played most - should be a good indication of which game is superior between the two DotA successors. I am not going to explain how the free to play mechanics works for this game here: If you are interested in that, please click here to read my detailed analysis of that. Suffice to say that this game is 100% free to play - I have probably stated that so many times in my previous LoL posts.
Teamwork is mandatory and it's great when everyone on your team understands this.
LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena with two modes of play: 3 versus 3 as well as 5 versus 5. Each of these modes comes with their own unique map. The point of the game is to destroy your opponents' Nexus, which is located deep inside their base. The first team to destroy that structure wins but this is where things quickly gets really exciting. To date, there are a total of sixty-one unique and imaginative champions (and that number keeps on increasing) that you can choose from and creating the most formidable team takes careful planning and skill. Once you are transported into the "Field of Justice", you work alongside the computer-controlled groups of fighters (creeps) that follow a set path leading towards the opponent's base as well as your teammates to systematically destroy enemy defense turrets and gain map control to achieve the end goal. You start each match at level 1 with the maximum level being 18. You level up by killing enemy creeps, neutral creeps that are camping in the jungle, as well as by killing enemy champions. With each level, you gain a point to unlock and improve upon your champion's four abilities. You also gain gold along the way that can be used to buy items to equip your champion with. Death by an enemy champion should be avoided whenever possible since your loss of life will reward the killer with a hefty amount of cash and experience. All of this may sound overwhelming but the more you play the game, things will only get easier and easier.
The loading screen at the start can be lengthy, depending on the other players' connection and hardware.
The battle can take up to an hour to complete and I absolutely enjoy the fact that each session feels like a complete gaming experience that starts up slow but then builds up into an escalated climax - whether you are winning or losing. It will take a while to master each of the many champions, thus the replay value for this game is nearly infinite. Unlike DotA, HoN, and even Demigod, LoL's action is not only in-game but outside of it as well. You will gain access to a summoner profile that levels up all the way to the maximum level of 30. You obtain Influence Points with each battle that can be used to buy modifiers for your unlocked rune slots and you also gain talent points that can be assigned to over three different skill trees. You get to also select two summoner spells to bring with you to the match and these are additional abilities on top of your champion's own. Depending on the champion that you choose, you will have to reassign both the runes, masteries, and summoner spells for the most efficient impact, so the success of your battle starts outside of the Field of Justice.
The effects of your mastery selection may seem subtle but they are definitely there.
Havng played both HoN and LoL, there is no doubt in my mind that the latter is the better game. First and foremost, the community is a lot more cohesive. DotA is well-known for having some of the most inhumane, rudest player base in gaming history and that same group of people flocks towards both Demigod and HoN mostly. This is not to say that everyone is polite and respectful in LoL but the community is a lot friendlier and Riot Games is always on the lookout for those who betray the Summoner's Code. Secondly, the masteries and runes add a lot more depth to the game. Thirdly, the game is a lot more action oriented from the start, thanks to the exclusion of creep "denies" where you could stop your opponents' experience intake by killing your own creeps: Instead of eyeing over both creep factions, you can just focus on the enemy creeps while harassing the enemy champions. Lastly, the lore is expansive and there is even a cool bi-monthly Journal of Justice newsletter from Runeterra, the game world where LoL takes place. The champions even have elaborate background stories and their ever-developing existence are often times featured in the newsletters. Those one-liner descriptions of the champions in HoN just can't compare - at least more efforts were made story-wise in Demigod.
A big team fight becomes the true test of your team's overall synergy.
LoL is certainly a must play, especially the fact that it's free. As cheesy as this may sound, it's really true what they always say: The best things in life are free. For a game that will cost you nothing to play, the amount of gameplay it provides surpasses anything with a price tag that are available in the gaming market today. LoL is without a doubt, one of the greatest games ever made on the PC and the most astonishing thing about this is that there are even a lot more contents coming our way. Truly the stuff of legend.
RATING: 5 out of 5